On Monday, May 30, Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Director and Professor of Law Carter Snead will deliver the inaugural University of Florence “Law and Justice Lecture” in Florence, Italy. The lectureship was established to provide the opportunity for internationally renowned scholars to engage in university-wide interdisciplinary dialogue on pressing matters of law and public policy. The honor also includes appointment as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Florence.…
Fifteen junior faculty and graduate students from international institutions are gathering at the University of Notre Dame May 23-25 for an intensive seminar on "Economics and Catholic Social Thought." The ND Center for Ethics and Culture is cosponsoring the seminar in collaboration with the Lumen Christi Institute…
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and the Jacques Maritain Center at Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, are hosting a two-day colloquium on disability and mercy to take place in Rome, June 5–6, 2016. The colloquium will bring together theologians, scholars, historians, persons with disabilities, families, and intentional Christian communities for shared discussion about disability and the ways in which mercy, properly understood, requires friendship, communion, and a shared life with those who have disabilities.
Congratulations to the 13 Sorin Fellows who graduated this weekend as members of the Class of 2016! Through their affiliation with the Center for Ethics and Culture, these superb young alumni received mentorship, internships, and opportunities to deepen their understanding of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition and examine the many ways they can be brought to bear on pressing ethical issues in culture and public policy today.…
The Center for Ethics and Culture invites scholars and artists to submit proposals for our Fall Conference, entitled "You Are Beauty: Exploring the Catholic Imagination." The 17th Annual Fall Conference will consider “aesthetic contemplation sublimated in faith” (“Letter to Artists,” Pope St. John Paul II), exploring the relationship between the imagination, beauty, truth, and religion in a variety of contexts, particularly the arts, philosophy, theology, political theory, and the sciences. The conference will take place at the University of Notre Dame, November 10 - 12, 2016.…
Richard Doerflinger, a Public Policy Fellow of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, retired at the end of April after 36 years as the associate director for pro-life activities and policy for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In recognition of his role as a lifelong champion in defense of human life, Doerflinger was honored in 2011 with the first ever Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, and as a Public Policy Felllow he continues to serve as an expert on bioethical issues.
Following on her "Women Deserve Better" op-ed published earlier this month in the Observer, Sorin Fellow Laura Wolk (L '16) was recently interviewed by Crux columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez. In the interview, Laura reflected on her own experience as a blind woman and the relationship between individualism, disability, and true freedom:…
Center for Ethics and Culture Public Policy Fellow Dr. Mary O'Callaghan was a guest on EWTN's Morning Glory radio program on Friday, April 15, discussing abortion protection for babies receiving prenatal diagnoses of various disabilities. Such legislation is consistent with the protections guaranteed in the Americans with Disabilities Act, said O'Callaghan, the difference being that, "we're not just talking about failure to build a wheelchair ramp, we're talking about total exclusion from society, from life itself, based on a single characteristic of a child."…
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture is excited to announce the first recipient of the new Polking Family Fellowship. Margo Borders will begin studies in Fall 2016 at Notre Dame Law School and serve as the inaugural Polking Fellow.
"The Polking Family Fellowship is awarded to select incoming law students that have shown a great deal of potential to develop as leaders who understand the connection between the law, public policy, and building a sustainable culture of life," said O. Carter Snead, Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. "We are excited about what Margo will achieve in the coming years as our inaugural Polking Fellow. We believe that her work with the Center, its visiting fellows, its research, and its special events will serve to build a tremendous foundation for her professional career."…
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture bestowed the Evangelium Vitae Medal, the preeminent lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement, upon Mother Provincial Sister Loraine Marie Maguire and the Little Sisters of the Poor at a gala banquet on Saturday, April 9. More than 400 guests joined in the celebration, including many elderly residents from the St. Augustine Home in Indianapolis, one of 28 hospitality homes run by the Little Sisters across the United States.
"The Evangelium Vitae Medal recognizes those whose outstanding efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages until death," said Carter Snead, Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. "That reverence for life is the cornerstone of the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who embody true compassion through their ministry to the more than 13,000 elderly people of every race and religion who live in their homes in 30 countries. They have given the world a powerful witness to the unique, inviolable dignity of every human person, demonstrating the radical solidarity and hospitality at the core of the Gospel of Life."
The Observer published an op-ed penned by CEC Sorin Fellow and Notre Dame Law student Laura Wolk (L'16), in which she responded to the recent on-campus lecture by former Texas state senator and abortion advocate Wendy Davis.
I want to speak to the passionate and eager women who attended last night’s talk, women genuinely seeking to understand how best to do good in the world. I want to tell you something that perhaps no one has yet had the courage to state bluntly and unapologetically: The message presented by Wendy Davis is an odious, pernicious lie, and you deserve better.
Prompted by the recent public discussion surrounding the 2016 Laetare Medal, the following memorandum offers a possible framework for how Notre Dame might, in the future, promote civility in public life and engage in dialogue with public figures (including the President of the United States) with whom we have strong disagreements, while also bearing witness to all the goods at the core of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
Mary O'Callaghan, a public policy fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture and prenatal outreach coordinator for Michiana Down Syndrome, released an open letter to Indiana Governor Mike Pence regarding HB1337, which would ban abortion in the case of prenatal diagnosis of disability:
In this era of evidence-based medicine, prenatal diagnosis of disability is not guided by the truth. Instead, it is driven by fear and misinformation, with the result that children with disabilities are denied access, not just to some aspects of society, but to life itself. This is the ultimate form of discrimination; discrimination which was decried by the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, but over 25 years later is thriving in the field of prenatal medicine.…
The Center is pleased to announce that Director Carter Snead has been appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life, the pope’s principal advisory group on the promotion of the consistent ethic of life in the Catholic Church:
“I am honored and humbled to serve the Holy Father and the Church as it continues its efforts to defend and bear witness to the inalienable dignity of every member of the human family, born and unborn,” Snead said.
“We are thrilled Carter Snead, and, by extension, Notre Dame, has been given this opportunity to serve the Church in our efforts to build a culture of life worldwide,” said University president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
William Kelley, associate professor of constitutional law at the Notre Dame Law School and a member of the Center's Executive Advisory Committee, remembers Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, for whom he clerked in 1988-89:
The untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia marks the end of a generation-long career on the Supreme Court in which he profoundly influenced the terms of legal debate in the United States. Those of us who were privileged to serve as his law clerks were witnesses to this remarkable achievement, which was the product of his intellect and his unyielding commitment to the rule of law. We were also witnesses to a life greatly lived.
Read the full article here. The Center extends its deepest condolences to Justice Scalia's family and friends.
Center Director Carter Snead (Notre Dame Law School) submitted a brief amici curiae with six other law professors on February 3 in the Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The case will examine whether the Texas law known as HB2, which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and for abortion centers to be held to the same standards as surgical outpatient centers, places an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. From the summary:…
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and Notre Dame Law School are pleased to announce the Polking Family Fellowship, a newly established program to recruit and provide funding for top law school candidates who have a demonstrated passion for the Catholic mission of the Law School and who share Notre Dame’s commitment to the inalienable dignity of every human life from conception to natural death.
The Polking Fellowship aims to cultivate the next generation of leaders who understand that law and public policy are essential elements in building a sustainable culture of life.
Center Director Carter Snead (University of Notre Dame Law School), Remick Senior Visiting Fellow Michael Moreland (Villanova Law School), and eleven other law professors filed a brief amici curiae on January 11 in the Zubik v. Burwell case before the Supreme Court regarding the contraceptive mandate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The brief argues that the mandate burdens the religious exercise of the Little Sisters of the Poor, one of the petitioners in the case, who object to having their employee health care plans used as a vehicle to distribute abortifacients and contraceptives.
Center Director Carter Snead addressed a reception hosted at the Synod on the Family in Rome October 20. The gathering, cohosted by the Center for Ethics and Culture and Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Archdiocese of New York), was attended by Synod fathers, clergy, and members of the media. Professor Snead spoke on the relationship between the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges and the work of the Synod:
In the domain of law and policy, expressive individualism holds that human desires are the source of fundamental rights. Expressive individualism underwrites the jurisprudence of abortion rights in the U.S. It anchors the arguments for unlimited access to dehumanizing and dangerous technologies of assisted reproduction. It undergirds the U.S. regulation compelling the Little Sisters of the Poor to facilitate access to contraception and abortifacients to their employees. And it justifies no-fault divorce. When operationalized in law and policy, expressive individualism often becomes a grave threat to the weakest and most vulnerable, who are seen as burdensome obstacles to the projects of the strong.
By contrast, the Church's vision of persons and our shared life together is one in which we are understood to be embodied souls (not mere wills), whose embodiment has meaning. We live not in isolation, but situated in relationships of solidarity and reciprocal indebtedness. Others have claims on us and we on them, whether we choose them or not. What is fundamental about persons is not that they can construct and pursue future-directed plans, but that they are made in the image and likeness of God, deserving of unconditional love and protection.
Read his full remarks here.
On Monday, October 5, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial "End of Life Option Act" into law, making physician-assisted suicide legal in the nation's most populous state. Center Director Carter Snead called the decision "selfish and short-sighted" in a statement released today:
Quoting the highly personal terms in which Brown had cast his decision — “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” the governor said — Snead insisted that “Gov. Brown and those like him — affluent, privileged, able-bodied and with supportive families — are not the ones who will pay the price for this new ‘freedom.’”
“What Gov. Brown should have been reflecting on instead,” Snead said, “was the poor, the disabled, the marginalized and the elderly who are now exposed to grave and lethal new risks of fraud, abuse, mistake and coercion. He should have been reflecting on those who are suffering from untreated, but treatable, depression or badly managed, but manageable, pain, people for whom the path of least resistance is now self-administration of lethal drugs.
Read the full statement here.